July 1, 2009
CAMBRIDGE - Nearly 1,000 Cambridge businesses, institutions, and agencies that serve prepared foods will be impacted by the city's trans fat regulation that took effect July 1. Starting this month, Cambridge food service establishments are no longer permitted to fry or grill with products containing artificial trans fat, or use these products as a spread.
Establishments may continue to use products containing artificial trans fat as a recipe ingredient and for deep-frying cake batter and yeast dough until Oct. 1, 2009, when the regulation takes full effect.
"Artificial trans fat has no health benefit and no level of consumption is considered safe," said Claude-Alix Jacob, the city's chief public health officer and director of the Cambridge Public Health Department. "This regulation protects people who dine out in Cambridge, who otherwise would not know the trans fat content of the foods they're eating."
Jacob added that many Cambridge food service establishments have already phased out artificial trans fat-or never used it.
In 2008, Cambridge became the third municipality in Massachusetts, after Brookline and Boston, to ban the use of artificial trans fat in food service establishments.
The health department decided in favor of a ban on the strength of the scientific evidence linking trans fat to coronary heart disease, the inability of consumers to know the artificial trans fat content of meals prepared away from home, and the desire to protect patrons of all Cambridge food service establishments.
The regulation does not apply to foods sold to customers in the manufacturer's original sealed package nor to items that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.
For the past year, health department staff have worked closely with Cambridge food service establishments and city agencies to prepare for the ban.
For more information and educational materials, visit www.cambridgepublichealth.org/policy-practice/trans_fat_policy/index.php